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Put Urinary Leakage to a Stop with Pelvic Floor Exercises

About 25 percent of women suffer from pelvic floor disorders, which include urinary or fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The pelvic floor is a hammock-like layer of muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowel and hold them in place. Over time, these muscles are weakened as a result of obesity, pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and aging. They may also be damaged from excessive straining, an injury, or surgery.

Weak pelvic floor muscles can cause shifting of the bladder, uterus, and bowel in women resulting in pressure on the bladder or bowel, which can cause incontinence. Pelvic organs may drop out of place onto, into, or through the vagina.

Gynecologists can treat urinary incontinence and other conditions caused by pelvic floor dysfunction with pelvic floor rehabilitation. Studies have shown that rehab exercises are effective for urinary and fecal incontinence, and the exercises are quite simple. Additionally, they are less costly than medications and adverse effects are very rare.

Due to embarrassment or shame, women often do not seek treatment for pelvic floor disorders, leading to unnecessary discomfort. Left untreated, the condition can worsen.

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Uncontrollable urinary leakage, especially with coughing, sneezing, or laughing
  • Frequent urination and/or urgency to urinate
  • Feeling of heaviness, pressure, or pain in the pelvic or genital area, low back, or rectum with an unknown cause
  • Feeling like your bladder, uterus, rectum have fallen out of place
  • Trouble emptying the bladder or bowel completely
  • Spasms of pelvic floor muscles
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Painful intercourse

Able to be done anywhere at any time, pelvic floor exercises involve contracting specific muscles and holding the contractions for a period of time. The length of time gradually increases as you strengthen and tone the muscles surrounding the pelvic organs.

Many women notice an improvement in symptoms within weeks of beginning pelvic floor rehabilitation for a mild prolapse or incontinence. However, the exercises should be continued even after symptoms improve.

If you experience signs of a pelvic floor disorder, talk to your doctor about pelvic floor exercises. Your gynecologist will perform a physical exam of the pelvic floor and take into account your health history to make a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate exercises.



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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.